Choice, Not Fate

Choice, Not Fate
Author : James A. Vedda
Publisher : Xlibris Corporation
Total Pages : 215
Release : 2009-12-14
ISBN 10 : 9781450013499
ISBN 13 : 145001349X
Language : EN, FR, DE, ES & NL

Choice, Not Fate Book Description:

Space technology has an important role to play in shaping a sustainable future, employing both human and robotic spaceflight capabilities. But the U.S. civil space program focuses the majority of its resources on the traditional paradigm of sending humans to increasingly distant targets (the Moon, Mars, and beyond). Rather than picking the destinations first and figuring out the goals later, the book suggests that NASA’s spaceflight programs should primarily target the creation of advanced capabilities, especially space infrastructure in the Earth-Moon system, and facilitate a greater role for the commercial sector in this endeavor. This will bring direct benefits to Earth more quickly and at the same time enable steady progress in the exploration and development of the solar system. The narrative begins by examining space in the context of today’s globalized world. Globalization has been a good news/bad news story, and space technology has been an important factor in this process. New wealth and international collaboration have been generated, but so have new problems and old problems have accelerated and spread. If we make the right choices, space development can do more to provide solutions in the decades ahead. The work of noted space futurists of the Cold War era is reviewed, with particular attention to the question: Why have things turned out differently from what most experts predicted and most advocates expected? The NASA exploration program finds itself locked into the “Von Braun paradigm” of the 1950s, which focuses on human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars without adequately explaining the reasons for doing it. This situation is not well suited to the political, economic, and societal environment of the 21st century. At a time when long-term strategic thinking is needed to address enduring global issues, many forces drive us to short-term thinking. The most significant of these forces for the nation’s top decision-makers come from the election cycle, the budget cycle, and the news cycle. Their effects on the presidency, the Congress, and the bureaucracy are examined using examples from recent history and current practices. The emphasis is on the need to change the incentive structure to promote long-term thinking since big technology projects have multi-decade life cycles and are aimed at problems that are national and global in scope. This shift in thinking leads to a revised rationale for spaceflight for the coming decades that is more directly tied to societal needs and ambitions. Space development will require more resources than NASA—or even all of the world’s civilian space agencies combined—can devote to the effort. Partnership with the commercial sector will be essential. Will space commerce be the stimulus for moving out into the solar system? If so, will it contribute to improvement of life back on Earth at the same time? Space commerce is growing fast, but is still small compared to other major global industries. Possibilities and pitfalls are discussed, along with examples of the checkered history of public and private sector attempts to promote space commerce. Making wise choices that have implications lasting decades is a daunting challenge, even when there’s broad agreement on a course of action. The book includes a chapter that warns: be careful what you wish for. Real-world examples (including the space shuttle and space station) demonstrate the difficulties of long-term strategic planning, and two futuristic thought experiments provide further illustration. The chapter concludes by demonstrating the long-term repercussions of poor choices, citing a current problem that has proven hard to fix despite widespread recognition that it needs fixing: export control for space technologies. If 21st century reality is driving us toward a course of action different from that of the Apollo/Cold War era, what should it look like, and what rationale should drive it? Voices of authority and advocacy for space ex

Choice, Not Fate
Language: en
Pages: 215
Authors: James A. Vedda
Categories: Technology & Engineering
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009-12-14 - Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Space technology has an important role to play in shaping a sustainable future, employing both human and robotic spaceflight capabilities. But the U.S. civil sp
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